For those of you that aren't familiar with the art world, London is one of the top 3 countries contributing to the art market, along with China and the United States. My partner lives and works there, so I'm fortunate to travel their often and experience the local gallery scene.
My list of recommended galleries can be found here on Google Maps. If you're in London, and you want to see galleries, I recommend stopping by the following:
*These galleries have multiple locations in London
For the most part, the best London galleries are in clusters, making them fairly easy to visit on foot. As with my recommended galleries in Los Angeles, I realize some of these may not be exactly in the neighborhoods listed, but for simplicities sake, I've grouped them by neighborhood to make visiting easier.
Let's start with Mayfair, since it definitely has the largest group of galleries. I'd recommend seeing a few and then popping into Liberty for some shopping :).
Address: Broadbent House, Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair, London W1K 3JH, United Kingdom
Website - Almine Rech
Almine Rech is right next to Gagosian's 20 Grosvenor Hill location. Other famous neighbors include Phillips and Sadie Coles HQ. However, this doesn't mean it's easy to find. You kind of feel like you're wandering through an alleyway, but it's ok, that's when you know you're close.
As with most galleries in London, the gallery features an upper floor as well as a full basement. This allows them the flexibility to show multiple shows at once if they'd like.
Address: 24 Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4EZ, UK
Website: David Zwirner
The galleries in London tend to fall on two different ends of the spectrum - either sharp and contemporary with the minimal gallery aesthetic, or a grandeur old house. Zwirner's London location is the later.
It's no surprise that powerhouse Gagosian has not one, but 3 locations in London. Two of these are located in Mayfair - right around the corner from one another. The third is located in Kings Cross, and is the only one I happen to have pictures for (tells you something about the kind of shows that are at the others).
Gagosian - 20 Grosvenor Hill
Address: 20 Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair, London W1K 3QD, United Kingdom
Gagosian at Grosvenor Hill is within a stones throw of Almine Rech.
Gagosian - 17-19 Davies St
Address: 17-19 Davies St, Mayfair, London W1K 3DE, UK
Gagosian on Davies street acts as a hybrid gallery and store. Sometimes it's a full blown, classic Gagosian Gallery. Other time's I've seen it operate as the galleries shop selling books and prints.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Address: Galerie Thaddaeus, Ely House, 37 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4NJ, United Kingdom
Website: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Thaddaeus Ropac has the most impressive location of all the London Galleries. If you're feeling particularly bougie after High Tea and want to impress your parents this would be the gallery to take them to (if they're into that sort of thing).
Hauser & Wirth
Address: 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET
Website: Hauser & Wirth
Don't be fooled by Hauser & Wirth's storefront-esq windows - inside the gallery is massive. It's really two galleries - connected by an almost hidden doorway...so right when you think you've seen an entire exhibit it just keeps going, and going, and going.
Address: 6 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BY, United Kingdom
Website: Marlborough Gallery
So this is a warning. The last time I visited Marlborough the entire gallery had been transformed for the Jonah Freeman + Justin Lowe exhibit, so the only thing I really know is that the gallery is spacious with multiple floors.
Massimo De Carlo
Address: 55 S Audley St, Mayfair, London W1K 2QH, UK
Website: Massimo De Carlo
Massimo De Carlo is slightly smaller than Thaddaeus Ropac, but equally as beautiful. It has three floors - ground level, basement, and upper room all serving as galleries.
Address: 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ET
Website: Pace Gallery
Pace Gallery's London location is uniquely located right next door (and basically inside) the Royal Academy of the Arts.
Sadie Coles HQ
Address: 1 Davies St, Mayfair, London W1K 3DB, UK
Website: Sadie Coles HQ
Sadie Coles HQ, as I mentioned before is right around the corner from Almine Rech, Gagosian and Philips. You can actually see Phillips giant window displays for their day sales from the gallery.
Address: 12 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8DT, UK
Website: Simon Lee
Simon Lee's London location may not be the biggest, but (IMO) it consistently has the best shows, especially for more up-and-coming artists, especially females.
Most of the time only the ground floor is open, but sometimes when they have larger exhibits (like the Clare Woods or Paulina Olowska shows below) they will open up space in the basement or in upper rooms.
Address: 8 Bennet St, St. James's, London SW1A 1RP
I've only been to one show at Skarstedt's London location, so I'm not sure if there were rooms that weren't open for this particular exhibit. If not then this is definitely on the smaller side of galleries with two rooms on the ground floor.
Address: 7A Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4EL, United Kingdom
Website: Sprüeth Magers
The pictures below really don't do this gallery justice justice. It feels like you're wandering around an old house with many small rooms. At it's center is a gorgeous old elevator (think a giant cage in the middle).
Address: 25-26 Masons Yard, St. James's, London SW1Y 6BU, United Kingdom
Website: White Cube
Beware, White Cube has multiple locations, but the one pictured is in Mason's Yard. Similar to Gagosian you feel like you're trespassing and wandering through alleyways and then BAM you see a gallery. Living up to every inch of it's name - White Cube gleams with stark modernism.
Address: London W2 3XA, United Kingdom
Website: Serpentine Gallery
Serpentine Gallery is literally next to nothing. It's smack dab in the center of Hyde Park. So unless you're out to see the swans, don't think you're easily going to go gallery hopping from Mayfair to here. It's a bit of a journey.
If you're walking through the park and not arriving by car, the view above may look more familiar to you.
Lisson Gallery - 27 Bell St.
Address: 27 Bell St, Marylebone, London NW1 5BY, UK
Website: Lisson Gallery
Marylebone is so quant and quiet. You feel like you're in more of a neighborhood and these galleries are just little oasis's inside. It's a little confusing but Lisson Gallery has two locations, both in Marylebone, just a block from each other.
The Bell Street location has a basement where they often show films that accompany the exhibit as well as a beautiful courtyard.
Lisson Gallery - 67 Lisson St.
Address: 67 Lisson St, Marylebone, London NW1 5DA, UK
The Lisson St. location is a little bit smaller, but still very enjoyable.
Fitzrovia is on the border of Mayfair and only about a ten minute walk from the closest Mayfair Gallery. It's not difficult at all to hit up both neighborhoods on the same day if you're looking to see a lot of art. If you're into more emerging artists, or intimidated by the more grandeur and sometimes stuffy vibe of some of the Mayfair Galleries, I'd highly recommend the next two galleries - Josh Lilley and Pilar Corias.
Josh Lilley Gallery
Address: 44 – 46 Riding House St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7EX, UK
Website: Josh Lilley Gallery
Josh Lilley is super unique in that most of the gallery is in the basement. So don't be freaked out when you walk in and see only one piece of art, just head straight to the stairs on the back right and check out the lower level.
Address: 54 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EF
Website: Pilar Corrias
Right around the corner (maybe a 5 minute walk) from Josh Lilley Gallery is Pilar Corrias. There's one gallery upstairs and two downstairs. Sometimes they're used for the same show (like Tschabalala Self's show) or sometimes they have three showings going on at one time.
Here's where we start to get a little bit off the beaten path (depending on what's central to you), but if you're around Shoreditch this gallery is worth checking out.
Kate MacGarry Gallery
Address: 27 Old Nichol St, Shoreditch, London E2 7HR, United Kingdom
Website: Kate MacGarry Gallery
If you want to venture out even FARTHER, then visit The Approach. There's even a beer waiting for you there - it's located above a bar, also titled The Approach.
Address: 1st Floor, 47 Approach Rd, London E2 9LY, United Kingdom
Website: The Approach
So if you walk in and you're facing the bar, to the left of it is a doorway with a sign that signals the gallery entrance.
Address: 6-24 Britannia St, Kings Cross, London WC1X 9JD, United Kingdom
Gagosian's 3rd location is in King's Cross. The security guard is probably wondering why I'm taking a photo of the place.
Did I miss any must-see galleries? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Especially if you're a London local, what are your favorites?